Study explores cannabis use in young adult cancer patients

Medical News | August 27, 2019

Cannabis can help alleviate some of the symptoms of cancer and its treatment, and a new study examines the prevalence of its use among young adult cancer patients now that medical cannabis is becoming increasingly available. The demographic and clinical factors likely to correlate with cannabis use and differences in moderate to severe symptoms between users and non-users are reported in a study published in Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (JAYAO), a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Kristine Donovan, PhD, MBA and colleagues from Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL coauthored the article entitled "Cannabis Use in Young Adult Cancer Patients." On urine drug testing for a breakdown product of cannabis, they showed that 30% of young adult cancer patients ages 18 to 39 tested positive. The researchers report that this prevalence rate of cannabis use is higher than for young adults in the general population and adult cancer patients seeking specialized symptom management. Young adult cannabis users were more likely to be male and, surprisingly, to report having more severe symptoms, including pain, nausea, lack of appetite, constipation, and difficulty sleeping.

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Accord BioPharma Partners with StoryMD to Deliver Advanced Prostate Cancer Educational Content to Clinicians and Patients

Accord BioPharma | September 21, 2022

Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., focused on development of oncology, immunology, and critical care therapies, announced today a partnership with StoryMD. The StoryMD platform is a single, unified, personalized digital health information portfolio that curates the most relevant, visually rich content based on a patient's condition. Accord BioPharma has signed on as StoryMD's very first corporate partner, to support StoryMD's advanced prostate cancer content, allowing Accord BioPharma to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly tool to help patients and their caregivers navigate advanced prostate cancer, just in time for prostate cancer awareness month this September. "At Accord BioPharma, we recognize the need to go beyond biology – and beyond our responsibility of drug development – to help change the clinician and patient experience at all touchpoints in the care continuum where we can," said Chrys Kokino, President of U.S. BioPharma at Accord BioPharma. "StoryMD exemplifies that mission by providing clinicians with clear, easy-to-understand visuals, videos, and health information that help their patients understand their disease journey. Partnering with StoryMD on their advanced prostate cancer content felt like a natural fit given our recent drug launch." In March of this year, Accord BioPharma announced the U.S. launch of CAMCEVI® (leuprolide) 42mg injection emulsion for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer in adults. CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRN, GnRH agonist analogs as anaphylactic reactions to these drugs have been reported in the medical literature. Accord BioPharma is heading all commercial initiatives in the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the New Drug Application (NDA) of CAMCEVI from Foresee Pharmaceuticals on May 25, 2021. Through a vast library of curated, clinically accurate disease-state information, graphics, and videos, StoryMD enables physicians to share an easy-to-understand disease journey with patients at the point of care, which can help increase patient retention of information and engagement, improve physician efficiency, and reduce the amount of misinformation patients may seek out on their own. "Accord BioPharma is making efforts to provide important patient and provider education in pursuit of our aim to offer latest treatment options to patients of advanced prostate cancer and we look forward to our collaboration with StoryMD to provide comprehensive and user-friendly tools for patients and care givers" said Binish Chudgar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which is the parent company of Accord BioPharma. "Every once in a while, you meet a person and a partner who has a vision. Chrys Kokino has that vision to go beyond drug development and sees the value in advancing technology rather than being afraid of it. And that's exactly what we want – partners who recognize the gap in communication between physicians and patients and who want to work together to close that gap and fill an unmet need." Alexander Tsiaras, CEO and Founder at StoryMD On the importance of prostate cancer awareness, Tsiaras said, "I have a family member who works in the medical field, and when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, it was amazing how little he knew. Cancer is such a confusing and overwhelming disease – 'Do I wait and watch? Should I be aggressive in treatment?' So, even for the most educated among us, it is a scary moment. Accord BioPharma and StoryMD are working together to go beyond offering patients drug options to impart knowledge and serve as a trusted resource." About Accord BioPharma Accord BioPharma, the U.S. specialty division of Intas Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., seeks to provide affordable, accessible, patient-centric therapies in oncology, immunology, and critical care. With a focus on improving the patient's experience, Accord BioPharma goes beyond the biology of medicine to see disease from the patient's perspective and develop high-quality therapies that impact patient's lives. The founders of Accord BioPharma have dedicated their time, passion, and resources to focusing on specialty care and treatments, proactively developing better ways of working, and delivering enhanced therapies. About CAMCEVI® CAMCEVI® injection emulsion is the first-ever ready-to-inject sterile formulation of leuprolide mesylate for subcutaneous injection that comes in a pre-filled syringe with no mixing required. In an open-label, single-arm study of 137 adults who received 42mg of CAMCEVI on Day 0 and Week 24, CAMCEVI offered consistent testosterone suppression to castrate levels (less than or equal to 50ng/dL) after the initial injection, from Week 4 to Week 48.1 CAMCEVI should not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to GnRH or GnRH analogs due to possible anaphylactic reactions.

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PHARMA TECH

BlackRock and QLS Advisors Partner Through BlackRock Systematic to Invest in Biomedical Innovation

BlackRock and QLS Advisors | July 19, 2022

BlackRock and QLS Advisors LLC, a life sciences technology and advisory firm, have announced a partnership through BlackRock Systematic to develop data-driven investment solutions to help accelerate biomedical innovation. The partnership will leverage the firms’ combined Research and Development and investment experience, directing funding toward public and private companies that have the potential to create transformative therapies while seeking to earn attractive investment returns for clients. Biomedicine is at an inflection point: breakthrough therapies—with the potential to extend longevity and improve quality of life—are emerging at an ever-increasing pace. Funding these therapeutic development programs has the potential to deliver attractive investment returns, but as biomedicine has grown more complex, so have the risks to investors. QLS has developed proprietary technology for estimating the probability of success of clinical trials, a key driver of financial performance, and systematically incorporating these forecasts into fundamental valuation models and portfolio construction algorithms. Their approach applies machine learning techniques to a multitude of predictive factors including therapeutic characteristics, clinical trial design features, disease-specific characteristics, and drug company track records. This methodology, coupled with BlackRock Systematic’s global platform, proprietary analytics, and more than 35 years1 of data-driven investment experience, presents a differentiated approach to investing in life sciences companies. “BlackRock’s partnership with QLS applies sophisticated quantitative investment technologies to the intersection of finance, academia, and life sciences. QLS brings an industry-leading approach to investing in life sciences that complements the work that BlackRock Systematic is doing in our actively managed portfolios. We expect this will create compelling, differentiated solutions that can deliver attractive returns for our clients while providing funding for life-changing therapies.” Rich Kushel, Head of the Portfolio Management Group BlackRock Andrew Lo, QLS Co-founder and Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management commented: “We founded QLS to improve the way financial resources are allocated to emerging therapies, with the goal of lowering the cost of capital in this important sector. With BlackRock, we gain a partner who is a recognized leader in data-driven investing and shares our passion for delivering investment returns with positive outcomes for society. We’re thrilled and honored to join forces with a firm that has such a strong and trusted global brand, broad network, and access to world-class investment resources.” BlackRock and QLS have also assembled a Scientific Advisory Council comprising renowned academics, medical doctors, and inventors. The Council will support sourcing, due diligence, and value creation through the members’ vast networks and decades of experience as industry leaders in their respective fields. The Council is expected to include Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, and founder of over 40 biotechnology companies including Moderna. Ms. Lita Nelsen, retired director of the MIT Technology Licensing Office; now consultant in technology licensing. Dr. Larry Norton, Senior Vice President, Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Past President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASCO David Karnofsky Awardee, FASCO, FAACR. Dr. Richard H. Scheller, Chairman of Research and Development BridgeBio. Board of Directors BridgeBio, Alector, 23andMe, DICE and others. Former Executive Vice President Research and Early Development Genentech and former HHMI Investigator and Professor Stanford University Medical School. Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor, MIT Department of Biology, geneticist and molecular biologist who co-discovered RNA splicing, co-founded Biogen and Alnylam, and the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. About BlackRock Systematic BlackRock’s systematic investment platform brings together BlackRock’s community of systematic investors across equity, fixed income, and factor-based strategies. Systematic portfolios combine cutting-edge technology, scientific research, and human insight in the relentless pursuit of investment performance. With over 35 years of experience and nearly 200 professionals across the globe managing over US$200 bn in client assets as of March 31, 2022, BlackRock Systematic partners with clients to deliver quantitative alpha-seeking and factor-based investment solutions for the whole portfolio. About QLS Advisors LLC QLS Advisors LLC is a life sciences technology and advisory company based in Cambridge, MA, dedicated to fostering biomedical innovation. QLS employs a unique blend of fundamental and quantitative tools to help clients manage risk, assess reward, and develop investment and financing strategies for portfolios of healthcare-related assets.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

ERS Genomics and Lepton Pharmaceuticals LTD Enter CRISPR/Cas9 License Agreement

ERS Genomics | July 27, 2022

ERS Genomics Limited is pleased to announce a new license agreement with Lepton Pharmaceuticals LTD. This is a non-exclusive licensing agreement granting Lepton access to the ERS CRISPR/Cas9 patent portfolio for certain applications. ERS, co-founded by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, 2020 Nobel Prize winner for gene-editing, provides access to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property. Over 90 patents are held in over eighty countries. Lepton Pharmaceutical LTD is a biotechnology company developing a proprietary, breakthrough technology to substantially improve adaptive cell-mediated immune response. "We are very pleased to establish this relationship and license agreement with ERS Genomics. It will greatly assist us to develop our innovative Castling technology to significantly improve immune cells efficiency and longevity to fight cancer." Dr. Daniel Zurr, CEO of Lepton Eric Rhodes, CEO at ERS Genomics added: "Lepton's Castling technology has great potential to impact the field of immunotherapies and we are pleased to help enable Lepton in pursuing this exciting approach." The Castling technology is a proprietary, miRNA-based general technology platform, essentially consisting of the manipulation of miRNA expression to achieve enhanced efficacy and longevity (reduced exhaustion) of cell-based therapies. miRNAs are noncoding RNAs that each affects the expression of hundreds of coding genes. The Castling technology allows, in a single gene editing event in the immune cell (either allogeneic or autologous), to impact the expression of a multitude of genes in the immune cells, once such miRNAs penetrate the microenvironment of cancer cells. This technology aims to revolutionize the immune cell cancer therapy field. About ERS Genomics ERS Genomics is a biotechnology company based in Dublin, Ireland. The company was formed to provide broad access to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. Non-exclusive licenses are available for research and sale of products and services across multiple fields including: research tools, kits, reagents; discovery of novel targets for therapeutic intervention; cell lines for discovery and screening of novel drug candidates; GMP production of healthcare products; companion animal and livestock health; production of industrial materials such as enzymes, biofuels and chemicals; and synthetic biology. About Lepton Pharmaceuticals Lepton Pharmaceuticals LTD. is based in Israel. Lepton focuses on subtle and precise silencing of coding RNA expression by small non-coding RNA molecules, working via the DROSHA/DICER/RISC pathways, small interfering RNA and microRNA (miRNA), to develop products and services to, ultimately, improve therapies for underserved diseases and improve and change patients' lives.

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